Lately, wireless carriers have been seeing their ARPU (or Average Revenue Per User) decrease. And this is largely due to the fact that the wireless industry has been seeing some stiff competition as of late. With the smaller carriers, like T-Mobile and Sprint dropping their prices, and forcing the larger carriers like Verizon and AT&T to do the same, if they wish to continue adding customers and keeping their current customers. All four carriers have already announced their earnings for the second quarter of the year, and they all had some pretty good numbers. Although Sprint and T-Mobile did do better than the duopoly, especially when looking at customers added.
Now according to Justin Springham from Mobile World Live, it appears that Sprint and T-Mobile made just $1.6 per subscriber per month in the quarter. That's a big difference from what the duopoly – Verizon and AT&T – made in the quarter, of $17 per subscriber per month. Of course, this is due to the fact that AT&T and Verizon do have more customers, and their prices are higher. So on average, their numbers should be a bit higher. But looking at how little both T-Mobile and Sprint made per subscriber per month in the quarter, it's pretty surprising. With all of the promotions that these two carriers have ran over the past few months and quarters, it really isn't that surprising. Since the majority of their customers are likely on a promotional plan that was only offered for a limited time. Like Sprint's "Cut Your Bill In Half" promotion they were running for the majority of the year.
While T-Mobile did make some money in the second quarter, Sprint did post an operating loss. One that was a bit wider than what they posted this time last year. One has to wonder how much longer both T-Mobile and Sprint can stay afloat with making so little per subscriber per month. T-Mobile, especially, has been adding over a million new customers each quarter for the past three years. It's going to be tough to keep that up, as it's getting tougher and tougher to sway users away from competitors, especially with Verizon and AT&T starting to jump into that price war with the two smaller carriers, T-Mobile and Sprint.